The Error of Preaching Mercy without Repentance

December 15, 2015

With all the fanfare over the start of Pope Francis’ declared, “Year of Mercy,” BCI is getting increasingly frustrated by all of the articles and homilies reported to us that, frankly, convey  an incomplete or flawed picture of what the Catholic Church actually teaches about mercy. We wish more priests would either skip over mentioning what Pope Francis has said on this topic that is flawed, or find a way of clearly setting the record straight. Instead, we see faithful Catholics being led by priests they think are solid and credible to believe something that is not correct. It’s happening everywhere–in parishes, the Boston Pilot, and mass media.

First, what the Catholic Church teaches on something and has taught for 2000+ years is more often than not these days NOT the same as what Pope Francis is saying publicly or writing in his various documents.  Hopefully, everyone realizes that by now.  And if Jesus Christ, the Bible and the magisterium of the Catholic Church during 266 papacies have all said one thing about particular Church teachings, and Pope Francis says something radically different, a reasonable person should ask, “Which Pope is wrong?  Francis, or all of the others?”

So it is that we get to the topic of mercy. We draw inspiration for this post from both Msgr. Pope’s excellent Reflection on the Modern Error of Preaching Mercy Without Repentance as well as a review by Boston’s Fr. Daniel Moloney’s review of Cardinal Kasper’s dreadful book, “What Mercy Is” (a book Pope Francis said publicly had a big influence on him).  Readers should read the entirety of both pieces, but here are a few excerpts from Msgr Pope’s piece:

“God’s offer of mercy and healing love stand, and are offered to everyone. But these magnificent gifts must be accessed through repentance. That is to say, we must come to understand the seriousness of our condition, turn to God, call upon his mercy, and begin to receive the glorious medicine he offers: the medicine of his Word, of the Sacraments, of prayer, and walking in fellowship with the Church, which he established as his ongoing presence and voice in the world (cf Acts 2:42).

But of course it is not enough for us simply to hear of this new way of thinking, we must actually come to it, decide for it. Repentance is to actually embrace this new mind, and this unlocks all the blessings the healings, the mercy, and the salvation that is promised. We must allow the grace of God, interacting with our freedom to effect an actual change, a decision in our life that changes the way we think, the way we act, and puts us into a saving relationship with the Divine Physician Jesus.

Like the patient above, we must be brought to understand the seriousness of our condition, come to know that there is saving help available, and then by positive decision, rooted in grace, actually reach out to lay hold of that help.

Repentance is the door, is the key that unlocks mercy.

Yet too often today mercy is preached without reference to repentance. Too many who preach and too many who hear have come to see mercy as granted without any human engagement. One simply has it automatically, no matter what.

Yet that is not what Scripture teaches. Most notably, Simon Peter on Day One of Pentecot and the going for of the gospel preached a sermon laying out who Jesus is, and how we, in our sin and rebellion killed the very author of life. The text from Acts says,

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38)

Thus, when asked what they are to do, Peter does not say, “Don’t worry, all is well,God is mercy. He says, “Repent and baptized.” In other words, come to a new mind, come to your senses, reject your sins, be washed clean and come to Jesus. And this will unlock the supreme blessing of the Holy Spirit of God, who is the mercy of God, the love of God the very life and grace of God!

And how is this accessed? Repentance.

Isaiah had said, The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD (Is 59:20).

And to the Disciples in Emmaus Jesus said, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)

And thus preachers and teachers in the Church, who are Christ’s witnesses, must proclaim repentance that unlocks the forgiveness and mercy of God.

St. Paul warns, In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).

Thus those who preach and teach mercy without repentance are deceivers and likely themselves deceived. And those who think of mercy without reference to repentance are deceived.

Faith and repentance are the supernaturally transformed and assisted human element that is necessary to unlock mercy and the graces of God. To ignore or deny this amounts to a denial of human freedom and does not help God’s people. Rather it hinders them, for mercy is accessed through repentance, and without it, the door cannot open. Repentance must be preached to all the nations because repentance, by God’s grace opens the door

 

Here is a passage from Fr. Moloney’s piece

Thomas Aquinas famously warned that a small mistake at the beginning of an argument leads to a large one at the end. For Kasper, most of the time, his weaknesses as a systematic theologian cancel each other out. He frequently uses the terms love and goodness and mercyinterchangeably, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the first two terms but not the third can be proper divine attributes. The upside is that readers can go along with all the nice things he says about God’s love, as Pope Francis apparently did, and not be sticklers for the details.

If Kasper’s understanding of mercy is wrong, what’s the right way to understand it? Mercy’s political origins are important to remember, because it’s very easy for a flawed application of mercy to lead to grave injustices in real life. The crime waves of the 1970s and early 1980s across England and the United States came in part from the introduction of a false concept of mercy into criminal punishment. Prominent experts at the time suggested that crime was really a form of mental illness that demanded therapy rather than incarceration. Judges developed or were given a variety of sentencing options, including expanded parole and out-of-prison furloughs, aimed at reintegrating criminals into society so that they would feel more connected. Prisons were reoriented around the idea of rehabilitating criminals rather than punishing them. Therapy, leniency, reintegration, and rehabilitation were implemented in one jurisdiction after another—and crime went through the roof. Soon voters were demanding stricter laws.

Around the same time, the Catholic bishops tried to replace canonical punishments with therapy, leniency, reintegration, and rehabilitation. In the 1970s, priests who were reported to be abusers of children were ­quietly sent for psychiatric treatment to be treated, rehabilitated, and reintegrated into parish ministry, rather than punished according to canon law. This was, among other things, an attempt to show mercy to the priest—by protecting his reputation and allowing him a second chance. In many places, including my own Archdiocese of Boston, psychiatrists pronounced the priests cured and fit for ministry even after several “relapses,” and the bishops did not second-guess the psychiatrists. Neither did they apply canonical penalties. Today, the bishops do not permit themselves even the possibility of granting mercy to a priest who has been accused of such a sin or committed it only once.

Is my bishop, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, merciless for enforcing the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, with its famous “zero tolerance” for abusers? I’m quite sure that Pope Francis doesn’t think so, since he just appointed him to head the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. ­Probably most of America would think likewise. But why? Why does the ­Boston Globe’s readership think that it’s a scandal for the Church to show “mercy” to priests wh­o ­committed one serious sin of abuse forty years ago but that it’s a sign of the wonderfulness of Pope Francis that he’s reportedly considering showing “mercy” to a man who dumped his wife and kids for a younger woman, also forty years ago? A consistent principle of mercy is lacking, and Walter Kasper has not helped us find one.

This brings us to our gripe.  BCI has heard complaints that a number of priests in Boston preached on “mercy” this week and specifically quoted Pope Francis’ recent comments on the topic, published in The Pilot and around the globe in secular media:

“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy,” he said.  “We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love.”

What’s missing here is that mercy requires moving away from evil, and there is no mercy without there first being truth.  To leave out the need for repentance is the equivalent of spiritual malpractice. It’s simply not correct and is not at all what the Catholic Church teaches. As discussed recently in First Things, “St. John Paul II: No Mercy Without Truth

Mercy is not moral peek-a-boo. Mercy requires moving away from evil: “Where [mercy] enters in, evil effectively gives way. Where evil does not give way, mercy is not there—but we also add, where there is no mercy, evil does not yield. Mercy does not accept sin nor looks upon it as if peeking between one’s fingers, but only and exclusively helps in conversion from sin….  Divine mercy goes strictly in tandem with justice”

We take issue with one piece in the Pilot which, though it mentioned the need for repentance, also encouraged readers to read Pope Francis’ “The Face of Mercy,”(called in the article, a “great resource” (even though it neglects repentance and drew inspiration from Cardinal Kasper’s drivel). And the author merely regurgitated Pope Francis’ line about why we needed a year of mercy, when the handwriting is clearly on the wall about why Pope Francis is on this bandwagon and the false teachings behind it.  A far better piece in the Pilot is What is Mercy — And What are Some False Conceptions of it , where author, Matt Hadro quotes Dr. William Mattison, a moral theology prof at the Catholic University of America saying:

“If my kid is obstinately avoiding treating his mother respectfully, there’s a time for mercy, but there’s also a time to recognize that things are what they are and they need to be punished. The goal of punishment is not an end in itself. The goal of punishment is to correct the will of the sinner to be restored into right relationship.”

If a priest you know preached on what Pope Francis said without giving the full truth, or a friend or family member is talking about mercy without repentence or judgment, we suggest you send this blog post to them.


Boston Diocesean Deception on Survey

December 6, 2015

In our last post, we criticized the Boston Archdiocese for spending in excess of $100K to survey mostly non-church-going Catholics about their views on the Catholic Church and Catholic faith. By coincidence, the day after BCI posted our criticism, Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications, sent out an email to all priests in the archdiocese explaining the background on the survey.  Here is his email, and then the BCI analysis of the deception follows:

From: “Donilon, Terry”
Date: 12/03/2015 11:37 AM (GMT-05:00)
To:
Subject: Background on Survey Effort

Dear Monsignor/Father,

During the course of the past year, the Archdiocese of Boston has been planning to gain a broader understanding of what is in the hearts and on the minds of Catholics. The reason for this effort is we believe that we should be in an ongoing conversation with our people. Recently we convened a series of focus groups and conducted a survey of 1,600 respondents from across the Archdiocese. This effort involves surveying practicing Catholics and those who have fallen away from the Church.

In 2012, the Archdiocese was a member of a coalition which defeated the physician assisted suicide ballot initiative in the Commonwealth. In conducting research at that time we gathered valuable information about the thoughts and concerns of Catholics on a wide range of issues statewide. The current effort has been focused specifically on the Archdiocese.

This type of research is a standard practice for other nonprofits, colleges and universities including many Catholic institutions. We have conducted similar surveys on a more informal level from time to time. In the spirit of evangelization our hope is to learn more about the people we serve as well as learn how we can help those who have fallen away from the church to consider rejoining us on their faith journey. The project is not quite completed and there will be an extensive analysis of the information gathered.

We are confident that this initiative will help us to be more engaged with our people, to be better communicators in spreading the beauty of our faith and in helping Catholics grow closer in their relationship with Christ.

Thank you for all you do each and every day in your priestly ministry.

Sincerely Yours,
​Terry Donilon

Where to start?

If the Boston Archdiocese truly wants to better understand what is in the hearts and minds of Catholics, help those who have fallen away from the church consider rejoining the Catholic Church and help Catholics grow closer in their relationship with Christ”, then how can Terry Donilon explain this feedback on the survey provided by “Iwassurveyed” about the design flaws of the survey?

 

First, there were direct questions with multiple choice answers such as strongly disagree, disagree, disagree somewhat, agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree etc. Many questions concerned Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s being chosen for the Pope’s circle of 8 and also as head of the new sex abuse unit at the Vatican. Not one question concerned Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s performance as head of RCAB.. Another question concerned the RCAB handling of sex abuse by clergy TODAY, not in the past. Another question was, “Do you intend to see SPOTLIGHT or have you seen it? “Some questions about contraception, abortion etc.

Not one question concerned RCAB finances; church closures and sales; the new and improved collaboratives; mergers and takeovers, school closings, EVANGELIZATION. WHERE IS IT ANYWAY?

Soooooo, I suggest that the questions were carefully formulated to minimize any real criticism of RCAB and Cardinal. Sean O’Malley. Not many people are going to criticize his participation in circle of 8 or the new sex abuse unit of the Vatican, no matter their feelings on what is happening locally.

There was no opportunity to control the interview. No open ended questions and no opening for you to reformulate the questions into something else. This was as programmed as possible.

We know from the Boston Globe article that questions included, Is your opinion of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable? And, “Which best reflects your attitude about abortion? 1) It is morally wrong and should not be legal; 2) It is morally wrong but should be legal; or 3) It is morally acceptable and should be legal.”

So, clearly the Boston Archdiocese has some other motives in the survey besides bringing people back to the Catholic Church, and they are interested in finding out Catholic faithful feel the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese is doing at its main mission–carrying out the saving mission of Jesus Christ.

Not that BCI is supportive of such surveys, but similar surveys done elsewhere have typically reported the following reasons why people stop going to Mass:

  • Liturgies are uninspiring
  • Homilies are uninspiring
  • Parishes are not welcoming
  • Money concerns abound
  • No attention paid to youth and young people
  • Like priests, but they are overworked
  • Runs too much like a business
  • Disagree with one or another of Church’s teachings

So, there is reason to believe that the Boston Archdiocese could save between $100K and 250K by simply using the sort of feedback gotten already from similar surveys. These will likely be the results of the very expensive survey RCAB is taking in 2015 and reporting in 2016. What will be done with this ground-breaking feedback? NOTHING.

 

A reasonable person might also ask why–if a survey was really needed–was there not a comprehensive survey of RCAB done by a group like the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).  If a survey was called for, and we still do not think so, a group like CARA could design surveys for individual groups, and thus get a more specific view of the state of the diocese by separately surveying priests, religious, lay leadership, Mass attendees, fallen away, and youth.

We will repeat and paraphrase what we said in our last post.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley needs to teach with the authority and confidence of a man who knows he has been given the keys to eternal life. Those who reject the immutable truths of the Catholic Faith will put their souls in grave danger. What might we expect from the current survey? The likely answer of what will come: Instead of sound doctrine clearly stated with authority, we are likely to see the Archdiocese pander to those who no longer attend Mass with lukewarm statements, cleverly worded to remain as inoffensive as possible while stating the bare minimum in terms of doctrine. We have already had this over the past 50 years and seen nothing but declining Mass attendance. It certainly is not the way Christendom was built.

We have a flawed survey designed and executed by a consultant who works for political candidates who hate the Catholic Church and work in strident opposition to our teachings. The fact that such a survey is being employed by a prelate whose primary duty is to guard the deposit of Faith delivered to the Saints is capitulation to the spirit of the age.


Boston Archdiocese Spending $100K+ to Survey Apostates

December 2, 2015

According to an article just published in the Boston Globe, the Archdiocese of Boston “has hired a top Democratic consultant to poll Catholics in Eastern Massachusetts – most of whom no longer attend weekly Mass – to find out what they think about thapostatee church and its leaders.”  A random phone survey will be taken  of whomever of 1,600 people want to respond, plus there will be six focus groups of fallen away catholics.   Participants will be asked a series of 90 questions including their views on church teaching such as abortion and contraception as well as their opinion of Cardinal Sean. (Since when are the prelates of the Church of Christ up for a popularity contest?)

While Terry Donilon, the Archdiocesan spokesperson refused to share the cost of the poll, sources tell BCI that the cost was $100K or more. Not only does BCI question the morality of giving church funds to John Martilla, who has served as a strategist for the likes of John Kerry, Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, we also question the purpose for marketing the Bride of Christ. After all, She alone has the words of eternal life.

What exactly does the Archdiocese hope to find by polling baptized Catholics who are no longer attending weekly Mass? The ills that afflict them are the same ills that have caused every apostate since Jesus first began preaching the Gospel to leave the bosom of Holy Mother Church. They leave because they refuse to accept the teaching authority of Christ and His Church. The only remedy for the situation of these unfortunate people is repentance.

As Christ ascended to Heaven, when the Church consisted of only a handful of disciples, Christ commanded the apostles to “Teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them all things whatsoever I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) “And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in His name.” (Luke 24:47). By Apostolic Succession, this is the mission also for the bishops of today.

Instead of teaching with the authority and confidence of men who know that they have been given the keys to eternal life and that those who reject the immutable truths of the Catholic Faith will put their souls in grave danger, the Archdiocese of Boston plans to invert Christ’s command and in the words of Terry Donilon “learn” from those who do not show respect or reverence for God and His Church.

What might we expect from this inversion? The likely answer is more of the same. Instead of sound doctrine clearly stated with authority, we are likely to see the Archdiocese pander to the godless multitude with lukewarm statements, cleverly worded to remain as inoffensive as possible while stating the bare minimum in terms of doctrine. Only a halfwit could imagine that this will fill the pews again. It certainly is not the way Christendom was built.

Pope Leo XIII clearly condemned this approach in his 1899 encyclical Testem Benevolentiae:

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order the more easily to attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. … Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ.”

The mere fact that such a survey is being employed by a prelate whose primary duty is to guard the deposit of Faith delivered to the Saints is capitulation to the spirit of the age.

That the Boston Archdiocese is spending even $1 on such a boneheaded initiative is a travesty and scandal, let alone donor funds at a time when most parishes are operating in the red.  Readers, please take this post, forward it to Terry Donilon (tdonilon@rcab.org), and ask him to cut the Archdiocese’s losses on the survey and stop this waste of time and money.

(This post was contributed by a local Catholic who wishes to remain anonymous)


URGENT: Contact MA Senators to Stop Planned Parenthood Sex-Ed Bill

November 18, 2015

This just in from Mass Resistance

Radical Planned Parenthood sex-ed school bill — being voted in Mass. Senate today, Wednesday Nov. 18!

You can still take action NOW (see below)

Call the Senate President’s office: 617-722-1500
Email: Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov

Say that we don’t want Planned Parenthood’s radical agenda in our schools at all. At a minimum, it should be “opt-in” for parents. DO NOT pass S2048.

Planned Parenthood’s radical “comprehensive sex ed” bill, S2048, which has outraged parents across the state, will be before the full Massachusetts Senate, Wednesday, Nov. 18. There is a separate House version that has not been voted on yet.


Planned Parenthood has been mobilizing their activists to lobby the legislature as hard as possible to pass their bill.

Wednesday is the last day of “full formal” sessions of the Massachusetts Legislature until January, when it continues its 2-year session. Bills not passed this week – including the House version of this bill — will still be active until December 31, 2016.

Push for radical “comprehensive sex education”

Making their version of “comprehensive sexuality education” mandatory in all Massachusetts schools has been a major goal of Planned Parenthood in every legislative session since at least 2006. In every session (so far), MassResistance and others have been able to successfully lobby to get the bill stopped in committee. But this year they are pushing extraordinarily hard.

Planned Parenthood even started a separate website, Sex-EdMatters.org, to promote this horrible bill among youth!

A major part of that objective has been to mandate the use of the Department of Education’s odious “Comprehensive Health Curriculum Frameworks” document, written in 1999, which outlines objectives for teaching in grades K-12 about sexuality, broad homosexual issues, “family life”, mental health, birth control, abortion, and other controversial topics. Currently, the document is optional.

What this bill does

Planned Parenthood’s goal was clearly stated during their testimony at the June 3, 2015 public hearing. They want to require that any school in Massachusetts that offers sex education at all, would have no choice but to do the full Planned Parenthood approach. The school would not legally have the option of offering a lesser version of sex-ed that the parents might be more comfortable with.

The Senate bill, S2048, “An Act Relative to Healthy Youth” does some very disturbing things:

  1. It replaces the current Parents Notification Law (originally written by MassResistance/Parents Rights Coalition).  The required notification to parents would be narrowed from from the general “human sexuality issues” to the specific “comprehensive health education provided by the school.”
  2. It continues to be “opt-out” – which has caused enormous problems for parents, instead of the widely-preferred “opt-in”.
  3. It mandates that homosexual sex “education” be taught to students.
  4. It mandates that contraception be taught.
  5. It makes the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks document the de facto standard for schools to use.
  6. It introduces the often confusing terms “medically accurate” and “age appropriate” which school officials have been able to use and manipulate with great latitude to serve their agenda, by cherry-picking their “experts”.

Amendments to bill being offered by Republican Senator

Sen. Bruce Tarr, (R-Gloucester) has offered several pro-family-oriented amendments to S2048. These will be taken up on Wednesday when the Senate debates the bill.

The amendments include:

  • Make all the material “opt-in” rather than “opt-out” – which is how just about everything else is done in schools, and what most families want. This is by far the most effective amendment.
  • If the “opt-out” is left in, a different amendment would require 30 days’ notice before putting kids in any of the classes.
  • A requirement that any outside contractor teaching comprehensive sexuality be certified by the state every year.
  • Include instruction on “the consequences of pregnancy and responsibilities of parenthood”.

Unfortunately, Republican amendments to Democrat-sponsored bills do not have a history of success in the State House. But we applaud Sen. Tarr for his efforts and hope for the best.

What you must do RIGHT NOW:

This bill needs to be stopped. Planned Parenthood knows exactly what it wants to do with your children. If they get this passed, they will move their sexual, homosexual, and pro-abortion agenda as deep as possible into the schools.

Bill 2048 will be taken up by the State Senate on 11:00 am on Wednesday morning. If possible, make calls before then.

Tell them: We don’t want Planned Parenthood’s radical agenda in our schools at all. At a minimum, it should be “opt-in” for parents. DO NOT pass S2048.

1. Call the Senate President’s office: 617-722-1500
Email: Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov

2. If you live in Massachusetts find your Senator HERE and call now!


URGENT: Contact MA Legislators to Oppose “Bathroom Bill”

November 17, 2015

This is urgent.  Renew MA Coalition is calling on all MA residents to contact your legislators today to oppose the “Bathroom Bill” that would make it legal for so-called “transgender” people to use an opposite sex public bathroom.  Here is their notice. Call the number below today and say that men dressed as women should not be able to enter a ladies room. And the privacy and safety of our families, particularly our children, must be respected and protected.  Call 617-722-2000 and ask for your rep. A call script is below.

(And as we would expect, nothing has been said about this by Cardinal O’Malley, the MA Bishops or the do-nothing Mass Catholic Conference)

  Call to Action

Bathroom Bill Vote TOMORROW

Dear fellow conservatives,

Our friends in the legislature tell us that the Bathroom Bill, currently HB 1577, will very likely be voted on TOMORROW.  Beacon Hill shuts down for the rest of the year after Wednesday, so there is an all-out push by LGBTQ activists to get the Bathroom Bill passed. 

This is our LAST CHANCE to push back and demand that legislators respect the privacy and safety of our families, particularly our children

PLEASE, CALL your state representative TODAY! If you know your state representative’s name, call the main switchboard at 617-722-2000. If you do not, click on the link below.

Call Your Representative Today 

   Thank you,

 Chanel

Hello Representative,

As your constituent, I would like to urge you to vote ‘NO’ on House Bill 1577, the Bathroom Bill. HB1577 is a threat to the privacy and safety of women and children.

The bill’s proponents claim it is about equal rights, but Massachusetts already passed a law giving special rights to transgendered people in 2011.  This bill is really about allowing any man or boy to enter a public restroom or locker room for females just by declaring female as their ‘gender expression.’

It is common sense that this is a bad idea and could be exploited by sexual predators or voyeurs.  You should be working to protect the privacy rights of MY family by voting against this bill.

Please vote ‘NO’ on the Bathroom Bill, HB1577. Thank you.”


Bishop Athanasius Schneider reaction to Synod: Door to communion for divorced & remarried officially kicked open

November 15, 2015

BCI has wanted to call attention of our readers to this outstanding piece by Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the mess created by the recent two Synod on the Family sessions.  It appeared on Rorate Caeli on November 2 and they are permitting others to reprint it.  It’s too good to edit down, so grab a nice cup of hot tea or your favorite beverage before you read it.

A back door to a Neo-Mosaic practice in the Final Report of the Synod

The XIV General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops (October 4 – 25, 2015), which was dedicated to the theme of “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World”, issued a Final Report with some pastoral proposals submitted to the discernment of the Pope. The document itself is only of an advisory nature and does not possess a formal magisterial value.

Yet during the Synod, there appeared those real new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees, who in the numbers 84-86 of the Final Report opened a back door or looming time bombs for the admittance of divorced and remarried to Holy Communion. At the same time those bishops who intrepidly defended “the Church’s own fidelity to Christ and to His truth” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, 84) were in some media reports unjustly labeled as Pharisees.

The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees during the last two Assemblies of the Synod (2014 and 2015) masked their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage and of a suspension of the Sixth Commandment on a case-by-case basis under the guise of the concept of mercy, using expressions such as: “way of discernment,” “accompaniment”, “orientations of the bishop,” “dialogue with the priest,” “forum internum,” “a more fuller integration into the life of the Church,” a possible suppression of imputability regarding the cohabitation in irregular unions (cf. Final Report, nn. 84-86).

This text section in the Final Report contains indeed a trace of a Neo-Mosaic practice of divorce, even though the redactors skillfully and, in a cunning manner, avoided any direct change of the doctrine of the Church. Therefore, all parties, both the promotors of the so-called “Kasper agenda” and their opponents, are apparently satisfied stating: “All is OK. The Synod did not change the doctrine.” Yet, such a perception is quite naive, because it ignores the back door and the pending time bombs in the abovementioned text section which becomes manifest by a careful examination of the text by its internal interpretive criteria.

Even when speaking of a “way of discernment” there is talk of “repentance” (Final Report, n. 85), there remains nevertheless a great deal of ambiguity. In fact, according to the reiterated affirmations of Cardinal Kasper and like-minded churchmen, such a repentance concerns the past sins against the spouse of the first valid marriage and the repentance of the divorced indeed may not refer to the acts of their marital cohabitation with the new civilly married partner.

The assurance of the text in the numbers 85 and 86 of the Final Report that such a discernment has to be made according to the teaching of the Church and in a correct judgement remains nevertheless ambiguous. Indeed, Cardinal Kasper and like-minded clerics emphatically and repeatedly assured that the admittance of the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion will not touch the dogma of the indissolubility and of the sacramentality of marriage, and that a judgement in the conscience in that case has to be considered as being correct even when the divorced and remarried continue to cohabitate in a marital manner, and that they should not be required to live in complete continence as brother and sister.

In quoting the famous number 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II in number 85 of the Final Report, the redactors censored the text, cutting out the following decisive formulation: “The way to the Eucharist can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples”.

This practice of the Church is based on Divine Revelation of the Word of God: Written and transmitted through Tradition. This practice of the Church is an expression of the uninterrupted Tradition since the Apostles and, thus, remains unchangeable for all times. Already Saint Augustine affirmed: “Who dismisses his adulterous wife and marries another woman, whereas his first wife still lives, remains perpetually in the state of adultery. Such a man does not any efficacious penance while he refuses to abandon the new wife. If he is a catechumen, he cannot be admitted to baptism, because his will remains rooted in the evil. If he is a (baptized) penitent, he cannot receive the (ecclesiastical) reconciliation as long as he does not break with his bad attitude” (De adulterinis coniugiis, 2, 16). In fact, the above intentional censorship of the teaching of Familaris Consortio in n. 85 of the Final Report, represents for any sane hermeneutics the very interpretive key for the understanding of the text section on divorced and remarried (numbers 84-86).

In our days exists a permanent and omnipresent ideological pressure on behalf of the mass media, which are compliant with the unique thought imposed by the anti-Christian world powers, with the aim to abolish the truth of the indissolubility of marriage – trivializing the sacred character of this Divine institution by spreading an anti-culture of divorce and concubinage. Already 50 years ago, the Second Vatican Council stated that the modern times are infected with the plague of divorce (cf. Gaudium et spes, 47). The same Council warns that Christian marriage as Christ’s sacrament should “never be profaned by adultery or divorce” (Gaudium et spes, 49).

The profanation of the “great sacrament” (Eph 5, 32) of  marriage by adultery and divorce has assumed massive proportions at an alarming rate not only in civil society but also among Catholics. When Catholics by means of divorce and adultery theoretically and as well as practically repudiate the will of God expressed in the Sixth Commandment, they put themselves in a spiritually serious danger of losing their eternal salvation.

The most merciful act on behalf of the Shepherds of the Church would be to draw attention to this danger by means of a clear – and at the same time loving – admonition about the necessarily full acceptance of the Sixth Commandment of God. They have to call things by their right name exhorting: “divorce is divorce,” “adultery is adultery” and “who commits consciously and freely grave sins against the Commandments of God – and in this case against the Sixth Commandment – and dies unrepentant will receive eternal condemnation being excluded forever from the kingdom of God.”

Such an admonition and exhortation is the very work of the Holy Spirit as Christ taught: “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16: 8). Explaining the work of the Holy Spirit in “convincing sin,” Pope John Paul II said: “Every sin wherever and whenever committed has a reference to the Cross of Christ-and therefore indirectly also to the sin of those who ‘have not believed in him,’ and who condemned Jesus Christ to death on the Cross” (Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, 29). Those who conduct a married life with a partner who is not their legitimate spouse, as it is the case with divorced and civilly remarried, reject the will of God. To convince such persons concerning this sin is a work moved by the Holy Spirit and commanded by Jesus Christ and thus an eminently pastoral and merciful work.

The Final Report of the Synod unfortunately omits to convince the divorced and remarried concerning their concrete sin. On the contrary, under the pretext of mercy and a false pastorality, those Synod Fathers who supported the formulations in the numbers 84-86 of the Report tried to cover up the spiritually dangerous state of the divorced and remarried.

De facto, they say to them that their sin of adultery is not a sin, and is definitely not adultery or at least is not a grave sin and that there is no spiritual danger in their state of life. Such a behavior of these Shepherds is directly contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit and is therefore anti-pastoral and a work of the false prophets to whom one could apply the following words of the Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).

The text of the Final Report of the Synod not only omits to convince unambiguously divorced and civilly remarried persons concerning the adulterous and thus gravely sinful character of their life style. It justifies indirectly such a lifestyle by means of assigning this question ultimately to the area of the individual conscience and by means of an improper applying of the moral principle of imputability to the case of cohabitation of the divorced and remarried. In fact, the applying of the principle of imputability to a stable, permanent and public life in adultery is improper and deceptive.

The diminution of the subjective responsibility is given only in the case when the partners have the firm intention to live in complete continence and make sincere efforts therein. As long as the partners intentionally persist to continue a sinful life, there can be no suspension of imputability. The Final Report gives the impression to intimate that a public life style in adultery – as it is the case of civilly remarried – is not violating the indissoluble sacramental bond of a marriage or that it does not represents a mortal or grave sin and that this issue is furthermore a matter of private conscience. Hereby one can state a closer drift towards the Protestant principle of subjective judgement on matters of faith and discipline and intellectual closeness to the erroneous theory of “fundamental option,” a theory already condemned by the Magisterium (cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 65-70).

The Shepherds of the Church should not in the slightest manner promote a culture of divorce amongst the faithful. Even the smallest hint of yielding to the practice or to the culture of divorce should be avoided. The Church as a whole should give a convincing and strong witness to the indissolubility of the marriage. Pope John Paul II said that divorce “is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

The Church has to help the divorced and remarried with love and patience to recognize their own sinfulness and to help them to convert with one’s whole heart to God and to the obedience to His holy will, which is expressed in the Sixth Commandment. As long as they continue giving a public anti-witness to the indissolubility of marriage and contributing to a culture of divorce, the divorced and remarried cannot exercise those liturgical, catechetical and institutional ministries in the Church, which demand by their own nature a public life in accordance with the Commandments of God.

It is obvious that public violators for instance of the Fifth and Seventh Commandments, such as owners of an abortion clinic or collaborators of a corruption network, not only cannot receive Holy Communion but, evidently, cannot be admitted to public liturgical and catechetical services. In an analogous manner, public violators of the Sixth Commandment, such as divorced and remarried, cannot be admitted to the office of lectors, godparents or catechists. Of course, one must distinguish the gravity of the evil caused by the life style of public promotors of abortion and corruption from the adulterous life of divorced people. One cannot put them on the same footing. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists aims ultimately not the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an istrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents or catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith.

In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22).   Unfortunately, the Final Report in n. 84 pleads for an admittance of the divorced and remarried to liturgical, pastoral and educational offices. Such a proposal represents an indirect support to the culture of divorce and a practical denial of an objectively sinful lifestyle. Pope John Paul II on the contrary indicated only the following possibilities of participating in the life of the Church, which for their part aim a true conversion: “They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

There should remain a salutary area of exclusion (non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices) in order to remind the divorced their real serious and dangerous spiritual state and, at the same time, to promote in their souls the attitude of humility, obedience and of longing for the authentic conversion. Humility means courage for truth, and only to those who humbly subject themselves to God, will receive His graces.

The faithful, who have not yet the readiness and the will to stop with the adulterous life, should be spiritually helped. Their spiritual state is similar to a kind of “catechumenate” regarding the sacrament of Penance. They can receive the sacrament of Penance, which was called in the Tradition of the Church “the second baptism” or “the second penance,” only if they sincerely break with the habit of the adulterous cohabitation and avoid public scandal in an analogous manner as do the catechumens, the candidates to the Baptism. The Final Report omits to call the divorced and remarried to the humble recognition of their objective sinful state, because it omits to encourage them to accept with the spirit of faith the non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices. Without such a realistic and humble recognition of their own real spiritual state, there is no effective progress towards the authentic Christian conversion, which in the case of the divorced and remarried consists in a life of complete continence, ceasing to sin against the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and to disobey publicly the Sixth Commandment of God.

The Shepherds of the Church and especially the public texts of the Magisterium have to speak in an utmost clear manner, since this is the essential characteristic of the task of the official teaching. Christ demanded from all His disciples to speak in an extremely clear manner: “Let what you say be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Math 5: 37). This is valid all the more when the Shepherds of the Church preach or when the Magisterium speaks in a document.

In the text section of the numbers 84-86 the Final Report represents, unfortunately, a serious departure from this Divine command. Indeed in the mentioned passages the text does not plead directly in favor for the legitimacy of the admittance of the divorce and remarried to Holy Communion, the text even avoids the expression “Holy Communion” or “Sacraments.” Instead, the text by means of obfuscating tactics, uses ambiguous expressions like “a more full participation in the life of the Church” and “discernment and integration.”

By such obfuscating tactics the Final Report in fact put time bombs and a back door for the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, causing by this a profanation of the two great sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist, and contributing at least indirectly to the culture of divorce – to the spreading of the “plague of divorce” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 47).

When reading carefully the ambiguous text of the text section “Discernment and integration” in the Final Report, one has the impression of a highly skillful, elaborated ambiguity. One is reminded of the following words of Saint Irenaeus in his “Adversus haereses”: “He who retains unchangeable in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognize the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king.  But since what may prove a finishing-stroke to this exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms a proof from the outset that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.” (I, 9, 4-5).

The Final Report seems to leave the solution of the question of the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion to local Church authorities: “accompaniment of the priests” and “orientations of the bishop.” Such a matter is however connected essentially with the deposit of faith i.e. with the revealed word of God. The non-admittance of divorced who are living in a public state of adultery belongs to the unchangeable truth of the law of the Catholic faith and consequently also of the law of Catholic liturgical practice.

The Final Report seems to inaugurate a doctrinal and disciplinary cacophony in the Catholic Church, which contradicts the very essence of being Catholic. One has to be reminded of the words of Saint Irenaeus, about the authentic shape of the Catholic Church in all times and in all places: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes the points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world (Italy). But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

The Final Report in the section on the divorced and remarried carefully avoids confessing the unchangeable principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal. John Paul II and Benedict XVI confirmed strongly this Catholic principle. The deliberate avoidance of mentioning and reaffirming this principle in the text of the Final Report can be compared with the systematic avoidance of the expression “homoousios” on behalf of the opponents of the dogma of the Council of Nicea in the fourth century – the formal Arians and the so-called Semi-Arians – , who invented continuously other expressions in order not to confess directly the consubstantiality of the Son of God with God the Father.

Such a declination from an open Catholic confession on behalf of the majority of the episcopate in the fourth century caused a feverish ecclesiastical activity with continuous synodal meetings and a proliferation of new doctrinal formula with the common denominator of avoiding terminological clarity i.e. the expression “homoousios.” Likewise, in our days the two last Synods on Family avoided naming and confessing clearly the principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal.

This fact is proven also by the immediate unequivocal reaction of the secular media and by the reaction of the main advocators of the new un-Catholic practice to admit divorced and remarried to Holy Communion while maintaining a life of public adultery. Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Forte, for instance, publicly affirmed that, according to the Final Report, one can assume that a door in some way has been opened to Communion for the divorced and remarried. There exists as well a considerable number of bishops, priests and laity who rejoice because of the so-called “opened door” they found in the Final Report. Instead of guiding the faithful with a clear and an utmost unambiguous teaching, the Final Report caused a situation of obscuration, confusion, subjectivity (the judgement of the conscience of the divorced and forum internum) and an un-Catholic doctrinal and disciplinary particularism in a matter which is essentially connected to the deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles.

Those who in our days strongly defend the sanctity of the sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist are labeled as Pharisees. Yet, since the logical principle of non-contradiction is valid and common sense still functions, the contrary is true.

The obfuscators of the Divine truth in the Final Report are more like Pharisees. For in order to reconcile a life in adultery with the reception of Holy Communion, they skillfully invented new letters, a new law of “discernment and integration,” introducing new human traditions against the crystalline commandment of God. To the advocators of the so-called “Kasper agenda” are addressed these words of the Incarnated Truth: “You made void the word of God by introducing your own tradition” (Mark 7: 13). Those who during 2,000 years spoke relentlessly and with an utmost clarity about the immutability of the Divine truth, often at the cost of their own life, would be labelled in our days as Pharisees as well; so Saint John the Baptist, Saint Paul, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher, Saint Pius X, just to mention the most glowing examples.

The real result of the Synod in the perception of the faithful and of secular public opinion was that there has been practically only one focus on the question of the admittance of the divorced to Holy Communion. One can affirm that the Synod in a certain sense turned out to be in the eyes of public opinion a Synod of adultery, not the Synod of family. Indeed, all the beautiful affirmations of the Final Report on marriage and family are eclipsed by the ambiguous affirmations in the text section on the divorced and remarried, a topic which was already confirmed and decided by the Magisterium of the last Roman Pontiffs in faithful conformity with the bi-millennial teaching and practice of the Church. It is therefore a real shame that Catholic bishops, the successors of the Apostles, used synodal assemblies in order to make an attempt on the constant and unchangeable practice of the Church regarding the indissolubility of the marriage, i.e. the non-admittance of the divorced who live in an adulterous union to the Sacraments.

In his letter to Pope Damasus, Saint Basil drew a realistic picture of the doctrinal confusion caused by those churchmen who sought an empty compromise, and an adaptation to the spirit of the world in his time: “Traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived” (Ep. 90, 2).

In a letter to Pope Damasus and to the Occidental Bishops, Saint Basil describes as follows the confused situation inside the Church: “The laws of the Church are in confusion.  The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety.  The result is, that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop.  Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is no precise knowledge of canons.  There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart’s desire. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement. And now the very vindication of orthodoxy is looked upon in some quarters as an opportunity for mutual attack; and men conceal their private ill-will and pretend that their hostility is all for the sake of the truth. All the while unbelievers laugh; men of weak faith are shaken; faith is uncertain; souls are drenched in ignorance, because adulterators of the word imitate the truth. The better ones of the laity shun the churches as schools of impiety and lift their hands in the deserts with sighs and tears to their Lord in heaven. The faith of the Fathers we have received; that faith we know is stamped with the marks of the Apostles; to that faith we assent, as well as to all that in the past was canonically and lawfully promulgated.” (Ep. 92, 2).

Each period of confusion during the history of the Church is at the same time a possibility to receive many graces of strength and courage and a chance to demonstrate one’s love for Christ the Incarnated Truth. To Him each baptized and each priest and bishop promised inviolable fidelity, everyone according to his own state: through the baptismal vows, through the priestly promises, through the solemn promise in the episcopal ordination. Indeed, every candidate to the episcopacy promised: “I will keep pure and integral the deposit of faith according the tradition which was always and everywhere preserved in the Church.” The ambiguity found in the section on divorced and remarried of the Final Reportcontradicts the abovementioned solemn episcopal vow. Notwithstanding this, everyone in the Church – from the simple faithful to the holders of the Magisterium – should say:

“Non possumus!” I will not accept an obfuscated speech nor a skilfully masked back door to a profanation of the Sacrament of Marriage and Eucharist. Likewise, I will not accept a mockery of the Sixth Commandment of God. I prefer to be ridiculed and persecuted rather than to accept ambiguous texts and insincere methods. I prefer the crystalline “image of Christ the Truth, rather than the image of the fox ornamented with gemstones” (Saint Irenaeus), for “I know whom I have believed”, “Scio, Cui credidi!” (2 Tim 1: 12).


Perspectives on the Synod on the Family

October 31, 2015

BCI was on a plane a few days ago when someone seated nearby brought up the Catholic Church. By and by, the discussion turned to what we thought about what is going on in the Catholic Church today with the “Synod on the Family.”   The short answer is that BCI is very concerned about the future of the Catholic Church right now and we believe all should be concerned and be praying for the Church.  So much excellent commentary is out there on this issue that BCI will highlight a few we think are worth reading or listening to by all:

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s final report ‘misleading,’ lacks ‘clarity’ on indissolubility of marriage (Lifesite News): 

He focuses on paragraphs 84-86 on divorce and remarriage, saying this section is of “immediate concern because of its lack of clarity in a fundamental matter of the faith: the indissolubility of the marriage bond which both reason and faith teach all men.” He also says the way the quotation from Familaris Consortio is used is “misleading.”  Read more


The Synod explained via new media (Rorate Caeli)
“The Synod of Sin has concluded. For some perspective to understand the traditional position — from a non-traditional medium — we bring you two helpful tools. First up, a sermon from a traditional mission priest, looking at the present-day Church through the lens of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Click here to listen to this eye-opening sermon.

Second, see below for a video from The Remnant, featuring Dr. John Rao. Give it a few minutes, then buckle up:

“The failed Synod: everyone defeated; and Catholic morality in particular” (by Roberto  de Mattei, at Rorate Caeli)

The day after the XIV Synod on the Family, everyone seems to have won. Pope Francis has won, since he was able to find a compromising text among the opposing positions; the progressives have won since the approved text admits the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist; the conservatives have won, since the document doesn’t contain an explicit reference to Communion for the divorced [and remarried] and rejects “homosexual marriage” and the gender theory.

The morality of inculturation, that of “case by case”, relativizes and dissolves the moral law, which by definition is absolute and universal. There are no good intentions, nor extenuating circumstances which can transform a good act into a bad one or vice versa. Catholic morality does not admit exceptions: it is absolute and universal or it isn’t a moral law. The newspapers then are not wrong when they presented the final Relatio with this title: “The absolute prohibition for Communion to the divorced and remarried falls”.

In the end we find ourselves faced with an ambiguous and contradictory document, which permits everyone to shout victory; even if nobody has won anything. All have been defeated, starting with Catholic morality which emerges profoundly humiliated by the Synod on the Family concluded on October 24th.

Yes, some commentators say that the language in the final document does not expressly contradict Catholic Church moral teachings. However, the door has been cracked ajar with a tremendous amount of wiggle room. As Roberto de Mattei wrote, “The Relatio, doesn’t affirm the right for the divorced and remarried to receive Communion (and thus the right to adultery), but it denies the Church, de facto, the right to publically define as adulterous, the condition of the divorced and remarried, leaving the responsibility for evaluation [of this] to the conscience of the pastors and the divorced and remarried themselves.”

The absurdity of this notion is made impeccably clear by Cardinal Arinze, who said, people in objectively sinful situations can’t receive Holy Communion “in good conscience….There is such a thing as objective evil and objective good. Christ said he who [divorces his wife] and marries another, Christ has one word for that action, ‘adultery.’ That’s not my word. It is Christ’s word himself, who is humble and meek in heart, who is eternal truth. So, he knows what he’s saying.”

That such matters are now up for grabs is cause for grave concern. BCI believes all should be fasting and praying for Holy Mother Church.


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